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Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory
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Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  66 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Alfred Gell puts forward a new anthropological theory of visual art, seen as a form of instrumental action: the making of things as a means of influencing the thoughts and actions of others. He argues that existing anthropological and aesthetic theories take an overwhelmingly passive point of view, and questions the criteria that accord art status only to a certain class o ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published December 3rd 1998 by Clarendon Press (first published July 9th 1998)
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Enrique Azocar
The book is a-historical study of how art’s agency be used to study the responses of people who treat works of art as living beings. It makes us reflect the importance of the object and how we interact with it. Ideas of the appearance of the inanimate as an animated, living being that defines living presence response, makes it resistent to any form of scientific explanation, and at the same time very unsettling. Highly recommended.
a wonderful book! It approaches the art object through its role as a social agent, so as the category of the art object is widely broadened. An interesting book for anthropologists and art lovers.
Gell's notion of art as a prosthetic extension of the body's sensory and instrumental capacity is applicable to many other interests such as the materialities of communication or ritual techniques.
Jonathan Walz
Objects. Agency. Yes.
This was one of the most innovative and useful books I used in my Master's thesis in Classical Archaeology. Fabulous!
Important book for archaeologists, I think. :)
Mills College Library
701.03 G318 1998
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